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Sunday, July 25, 2010

KEMMERER / DIAMONDVILLE


DIAMONDVILLE - WORLD FOSSIL CAPITAL


50 MILLION YEAR OLD LAKE BOTTOM...WAY UP THERE


LAKE BOTTOM EROSION



COKE PLANT





LITTLE AMERICA...SIGNS START 100 MILES OUT ON ALL ROAD LEADING TO L. A.






FOSSIL BUTTE





KEMMERER...ORIGINAL J.C. PENNY STORE WAS OPEN ON SUNDAY JULY 25, 2010





Was on the road by 6:30 am.

When I last drove thru Kemmerer, US 30 went into town. Now, US 30 is a by-pass two miles outside downtown. I did not know that when I took a room downtown, so it was 7 am before I even rached US 30.

Decided to walk US 30 back to Sage Junction where I walked yesterday from Cokeville. I would take my chances on hitching a ride back to Kemmerer.

Kemmerer / Diamodville is at elevation 6,950 feet or so. US 30 is at least 7,300 feet. So, my walk this morning was in the 7,000 foot elevation range. Was anticipating shortness of breath because of the thinning air. Climbed some moderate hills with no visible effort.

First thing one sees is the strip mining activity up here. The higher elevations around here are up-lifted remnants of an ancient (50 million years) lake bed of fresh water. Diamondville claims the World Leader in marine fossils. The original lake was over 900 square miles.

Every hilltop it seems has a quarry of some sort. Near town is a large "coke" manufacturing plant. A large seam of coal is clearly visible from US 30...a wide section of black rock perhaps 100 feet thick running across the hillside. The factory "cooks" the coal, producing "Coke", which burns at very high temperatures. It is used to stoke fire in large furnaces.

Other quarries are "Fossil" quarries. One such area is "Fossil Butte", a U.S. Monument Park high up on the mountain side. I decided to walk the extra 4 miles to the Visitors Center. Was a heck of a climb, but worth it.

Interesting bit of trivia: If the land you own was homestead; i.e., in your family, you own all rights to the center of the earth. If the land you own is a "recent" purchase, you own everything in the first 40 feet of depth...The Government owns everything below 40 feet.

I was fortunate to receive a ride from the Monument Park back to my hotel. Going to rest a couple hours, then hitch a ride to Opal, about 13 Miles toward Little America. I will then walk back to the Van.

INTERMISSION

OK, back from the Opal session. Drove out 7 miles & parked the Van. Started walking toward Opal. I walked EAST, but stuck my thumb out for every car headed WEST. I really wanted a ride WEST back to Kemmerer, but have discovered it sometimes takes a half hour or more to get a ride, so frugal me...make every second count..get some EASTERLY miles in instead of standing like a big ole tree waiting for the World to come to me.

So, I reasoned.. walk EAST during the inevitable "wait-for-a-ride" to come along. Worked like a charm...walked 45 minutes toward Opal (45 minutes = 3 miles), hitched back to KEMMERER and walked the 7 miles back to the Van...TOTAL = 10 MILES.

So, for the day, I have 34 miles.

Staying a second night in Kemmerer motel. At daybreak, plan to drive to Opal & start walking EAST again.

A word on the topography...We are playing at an altitude of 7,000 feet or so. Remember, thus is a lake bottom lifted up by Continental Drift during the past 50 million years. Lots of errosion has eaten into the lake bed, leaving countless steep valleys meandering below the many flat-top steppes (the old original lake bottom sitting way up there above all else).

US 30 goes where the "all else" goes; i.e., UP - DOWN - UP - DOWN -UP...you get the idea...makes for Very Difficult Walking. Also, Wyoming DOT has deemed it proper to eliminate berms. Now, I must again walk on the actual roadway...makes for attentiveness, if I want to make it out of here to Little America, where I-80 is awaiting.

Another bit of trivia: Kemmerer sits on an EAST facing side-hill. Opposite a mile or two across a crystal clear small river sits a NORTH - SOUTH range of hills at about 8,000 feet. On many rises, one sees numerous tower-like structures. What are all those towers, I asked my ride back from Fossil Butte.

Oh, they are for pumping concrete into the burning inferno raging deep underground in the coal seams.

(Note: Nearly ALL of the Rocky Mountains from the Arctic to Mexico are big coal or tar sand reservoirs...Google it if interested).

Been diong that since the 1950s. Legend has it the Indians A LONG TIME AGO used the heat from those vast underground fires. This is all new to me. The towers, however, are up there following the tops of a very long ridgeline.
As a coincidence, CNN has an article today about underground coal seam fires...it is apparently world-wide and many have been burning a VERY LONG TIME. I would link the article, but don't know how...RON: help, please.

2 comments:

Sydne said...

Hi Bruce - With every passing day we are all getting smarter and smarter from your experience. I can barely wait till your blog changes. Really, really interesting. You are getting to see things in a way you never would have, if you hadn't done this. It's great. Thinking about you, and watching. Sydne

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